A few weeks ago world leaders and thousands of activists arrived in Glasgow for the COP26 climate summit. Climate marches echoed around the city, calling for faster and bolder responses to protect the planet and its people from the clear and growing threat of climate change.
Since COP26 I have been reflecting on the conversations, the protests and the big ambitions. And the links between climate justice and the human rights trajectory are clear.
Some communities have experienced change to their daily lives – loss of livelihoods, homes and heritage – due to climate change caused by the historical emissions of other nations. Just as some individuals face multiple barriers to being able to enjoy their rights to housing, education or health, due to systems which fail to support people equally.
The people at the heart of these issues must participate in discussions and solutions to address them – this is essential to prevent further injustice and exclusion. And it requires a power shift.
Youth climate leaders from across the globe continue to be amongst the strongest advocates for urgent action, knowing that without it their generation will live with the consequences. At Corra we are proud to have worked alongside partners to support communities to have greater agency and a say in how change should happen. This includes being one of the founding funding partners for Scotland’s Young People’s Forest, a flagship project led by a panel of young people championing community engagement and the creation of more woodland in Scotland.
As well as amplifying voices here in Scotland, Corra also recognises the importance of supporting communities in the countries most affected by climate change and ensuring their voices are heard. We were recently invited to share our experience of managing the Scottish Government’s Climate Justice Innovation Fund with the Scottish Parliament. Our involvement with this Fund was rewarding and we valued the opportunity to support a range of exciting partnerships of organisations working across countries to develop new approaches.
While small on a global scale, Scottish Government funding for international climate work has been progressive and the recent announcements of increases to the Climate Justice fund and of pledges for ‘loss and damage’ are significant. These pledges recognise that countries like ours with high historical emissions have a responsibility to support countries affected by the climate change we contributed to causing, and, significantly, responded to the powerful advocacy of many speakers and activists from countries most affected by climate change.
The importance of listening to those most affected is one of the key points I will take away from COP26.
Corra has made commitments to play its part in addressing the causes and impacts of climate change. This include signing up to the Funder Commitment on Climate Change which means action across our internal operations and the programmes we fund. As we work to deliver on these commitments it will be vital that we keep listening and also that we help to amplify the voices of those most affected, supporting their advocacy and raising awareness of what we can all do to tackle climate change.